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Entrepreneurship in the Shade of a Multinational Corporation: A Story of Fancy Footwork
Göteborgs universitet, Handelshögskolan.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, VITS - Development of Informations Systems and Work Context. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2784-863X
Stockholms universitet.
2011 (English)In: 21th Nordic Conference on Business Studies / [ed] Stockholm University, School of Business, Sweden, Stockholm University, School of Business, Sweden, 2011Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper takes a case study of an engineering company named FlexLink as a point of departure. The company, that produces conceivable applications of conveyors in industrial settings, has no production, no stock and no distribution within the legal boundary of the firm. It has developed as a network organization with organic growth both in the shade of, and ahead of, the global multinational corporation, from which it springs. In order to understand the emergence of this network organization, and the visionary and strong entrepreneur who manoeuvred it to where it stands today, and its rationale, we elaborate on a dialectic model of thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis. We also discuss the rational and rhetoric explanation of the organization's emergence through the examination of critical incidents as well as reactions towards more structural limitations and restrictions, as well as windows of opportunity in the shade of the multinational corporation. This article brings up a case of an extreme outsourcing strategy that has been depicted as an internalized business concept, but in our case study the rationale and the current picture is continuously undergoing change. In the analysis we also show how the emergence of the organization can be understood in the light of theories on Schumpeters concept “creative destruction” as well as in terms of the structuration and the process of change as a duality between actor and structure. In this paper we argue that the emergence of FlexLink can be described as dialectic interplay. The network structure emerged by opposition to the mother company's rigid structure and ideology. In the story of emergence it seems to be the unforeseen consequence of tactics played by one single and dominant actor, navigating in the early days to circumvent obstacles of internal policy. Thus the new organization emerges as an antithesis to the corporate policies and modes of operation. The new business was not produced according to a pre-established strategic plan, but rather evolved from a spirit of contradiction and a more or less explicit revolt and ambition to act differently. One important contribution from this study is that entrepreneurship has many faces and applications and also describes the practice of the entrepreneur as a problem solver and a master of fancy footwork. This is elaborated in the paper together with a discussion based on the risks for stagnation or how new – second order - entrepreneurship can emerge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm University, School of Business, Sweden, 2011.
National Category
Other Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-72615OAI: diva2:460530
21th Nordic Conference on Business Studies
Available from: 2011-11-30 Created: 2011-11-30 Last updated: 2015-06-04

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Melin, Ulf
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VITS - Development of Informations Systems and Work ContextFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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